2017-09-07 / Opinions

Guest Viewpoint


By Kristen L. Rifenbark By Kristen L. Rifenbark I’ve had this story idea in my head for a while now. Well, actually it’s more like half an idea that I’ve been struggling to fully develop. I’ll share it with you to give you a better idea of what I was working with. The idea was supposed to be an analogy. Here goes.

You know that feeling you get when you let someone else drive your car and then you try to readjust the seat afterward? You know going into it that this is going to happen. Regardless of who drives it, whether it be your spouse or child or even a mechanic, it is still annoying. You know exactly when it feels just perfect, just the way you like it. The hard part, however, is getting back to that heavenly spot. Not too forward, not too far back, up a little in the front and down slightly in the back, with the backrest tilted just right. Don’t even get me started on the positioning of the steering wheel and your rearview mirror. You know how you like it but the struggle is real. Finally, after weeks, you aren’t quite sure if you have it just right or if you have become accustomed to this new norm because you know the chances of getting it exactly where you like it are slim to none.

While I was trying to develop the seat analogy, I came up with another, while on our family vacation. Actually, my adult nephew unknowingly came up with it. When you buy a recliner, they come with two arm protectors and a head protector. You know those little pieces of cloth that are the same fabric and color as the chair. He was picking one up and replacing it on the chair when he commented about how annoying they are and questioned their purpose. My sister-in-law gave him the correct answer, in that they are to protect the chair from your hands and head, to keep them looking nice longer. If you really think about it, however, aren’t they really just glorified plastic couch covers. You know what I’m talking about. When you go to someone’s house, probably in the 1960s or 70s, and their entire couch was covered in plastic - so you don’t ruin the fabric on the couch. To me, that’s all the little fabric protectors are. Perhaps they wouldn’t be so bad if they actually stayed on and in place. At least the full plastic ones did. So you have a toss-up: the annoying sound and uncomfortableness of the plastic covers or the annoying constant retrieval and replacement of the fabric arm and head rests.

I think the reason I’ve had a hard time developing the remainder of the analogies was because they have such negative connotations and the comparison thoughts would have been as well. I don’t like spreading negativity. My writing has always been about positivity or at least my intent has always been to include something hopeful, faithful or loving.

In the spirit of sticking to positivity, let’s think about the seat adjustment. I worked very hard to buy my car. I saved as much as I could, I set a reasonable budget for myself, I picked out the car, I secured the loan, I paid the loan off early and I try my best to maintain my car. I’m proud of that accomplishment. I’m proud of my car. You may look at it and see the hole in the back bumper (yup, I backed into a parked car in my driveway) and the fact that it is a 2007 and with over 133,000 miles on it and think, “What a piece!” I get in it and see the two car seats in the back and think of how I am providing for my children. I have given them a safe place to get where we need to go. I should be grateful that I have the opportunity to experience the annoyances of readjusting my seat. How lucky am I? Not everyone has a car. Not everyone has a car they feel safe having their kiddos in. Not everyone is in the same position that I am and I should be grateful that I am so blessed. I definitely didn’t do this all on my own. The good Lord above has provided for me and I’m not about to let a little annoyance detract from all of that.

Same with the recliner. Why should I let the fact that we only have two out of three of the protectors on the chair, and likely only one on the chair in the correct position, bother me? I am grateful that I have two kiddos that take them off and lose them. I wake up every day to a somewhat messy house. I have a family whom I love dearly. I can’t imagine what it would be like to wake up one day to a perfectly spotless house with the seat protectors exactly where they were designed to be if the house was quiet. If my family was ripped away from me in tragedy, I imagine that in my psychosis, I’d probably throw those seat protectors in the bottom of a toy box, and spread the toys all around, hoping for some normalcy.

It is so easy to let nagging irritations get to you. My advice if this happens to you (because I think it happens to us all) is to be grateful. Think of the joy you have in your life. Thank the Lord that you are daily showered in His grace and love and blessings.

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